5 But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man) 6 God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world? Romans 3:5-6 (KJV)
This one presents difficulties in that commend has four meanings. Looking it up in Webster’s gives you some understanding of it. However, looking at the Greek Textus Receptus gives us the answer. συνιστάω Soon is ta’oh “To exhibit, to set together” is translated as “Commend”.
Only twice outside of Paul’s writings, Luke 9:32; 2 Peter 3:5, both in the physical sense. Lit., to place together. Hence of setting one person with another by way of introducing or presenting him, and hence to commend. Also to put together with a vein of showing, proving, or establishing.
Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, (New York: Scribners, 1887), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “Romans 3:5”.
Here is where the prevailing attitude of textual criticism gives many the desire here to change God’s word. “I would translate this as blah blah blah.” Well, that’s probably why God didn’t let you translate His Bible! It’s not what we think it should read, it’s what God thinks it should read!
Commend then “proves” and “make acceptable”.
Our unrighteousness, unfaithfulness, and sinfulness brings us to one point – the judgment of God. This now becomes your go-to verse for discussions with Universalists and no-hell advocates. You know, the “I don’t believe a loving God would send people to Hell.” The discussion should now go like this:
Objection: “I don’t believe a loving God would send people to hell.”
Answer: “Well, then you don’t believe the Bible, because it says ‘if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance?”
Objection: “But why would a loving God send us to Hell?”
Answer: “Our sins pile up and up before a righteous and Holy God. He’s so loving and forgiving that to reject that your entire life, over and over and over again despite the longsufferingness of God and the mercy of God, is to heap vengeance upon your head. God didn’t have to come and die for us, in the most excruciating way. But He did. To reject that ultimate act of love and forgiveness is to declare contempt for God in the extreme.”
Objection: “But if God’s so loving, why not just forgive?”
Answer: “God is utterly Holy, and cannot look upon sin. Without forgiveness of it, in the manner God chose to forgive, you cannot be in His sight. And the ultimate truth is.. by rejecting God, you chose Hell. God is thus blameless for your choice, according to Romans 3:5-6.”
So, in your verses to memorize from the Bible, I really recommend memorizing Romans 3:5. It helps to answer the Bible critics and objectors.
And… make sure it’s a Bible, and not a New King James!